Recently, I felt that familiar squeeze on my arm while the nurse applied rapid pressure to the lemon-like black pump in her hand. After a few awkward moments of silence, she would quote my numbers and congratulate me on a having a healthy amount of blood pressure in my 42-year-old body.
Then she would tell me what I had heard before.
“You never know without checking… it’s the ‘silent killer,’ y’know?”
The silent killer. Yikes. Not good.
Sounds like the name of an 80’s horror flick.
The idea that something could be threatening my life and I don’t even know it might be the scariest thing (in this life) one could contemplate.
While the illustration may be a bit dramatic for my point in this post, there’s a “silent killer” of many-a-local-church visitor rate: a poor church web site.
There are 3 kinds of web sites that I have found in consulting with churches from New York to Florida to California over the past few years. I’m going to share them with you for one purpose, and that is that if you’re guilty, that you do something about it.
Here we go.
The 3 kinds of church web sites that are hindering potential visitors from taking the plunge and showing up:
1. The Non-Existent Church Web Site
One recent survey by a Monk Development offered some interesting insights into the new role that a church’s web site plays in our church prospects making a decision to visit the church.
Of people who’d been attending a church for less than a year, 27 percent had found that church online.
And 61 percent of that group said the church website had been ‘somewhat to very important’ in their decision to attend the church.
What if you could enjoy a fast 27% bump in your visitor rate just by having a site that you now don’t have?
TIP: You should be able to get something up within 1 week. That’s right. Any web company worth their salt can put up a five-page web site in less than a week. You can always tweak it later. Just get that thing up!
2. The Dated Church Web Site
If you had your web site built in 2007 and haven’t touched it since, guess what?
Your prospects can tell.
They are checking you out online and a dated web site is the same as a dated anything-else sitting around your church building. It sends a message that you’re skimpy, out-of-touch, or don’t “get it” when it comes to this new, vibrant digital age in which society now functions (every day).
That’s not the message you want to send.
3. The Stale Church Web Site
Compared to ten years ago, one of the biggest differences you will see across the web relating to web sites is that they are more frequently updated. The Internet landscape of the early 2000s was nothing more than a litany of online static brochures.
That’s all changed.
For the past few years, more and more web sites are being built on what started as blogging platforms, such as the free and open-source WordPress platform, so that users with no design or programming experience could add fresh content and updates on the fly.
If your church web site doesn’t allow you and your staff to update content easily and at-will, change it. Call your web site and ask that they rebuild the web site on WordPress and show you how to use it. If they quote you anything over 300 bucks, just remind them it’s amazing what people can and will do for five bucks.
The bottom line is exactly what I’ve been saying for a long time: Google is your new front door. But your web site is your foyer. Get this part right and start bringing in those almost-visitors that, unless you do, won’t show up.